Boston Inspiring Connections Outdoors
July 14, 2012 - Exploration on Georges Island in the Boston Harbor
The ICO and the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s (EBNHC) Let’s Get Movin’ program escaped the city heat for a trip to Georges Island on Saturday July 14th. Josh and Johannah, EBNHC staff members, and 14 elementary and middle school boys and girls were joined by 3 ICO volunteers for a full day of activity, education, and exploration.
After meeting up in East Boston the group of 19 took the T to Aquarium and then jumped on the ferry to venture out into Boston Harbor. Views and wildlife were enjoyed on the cruise out as sunscreen was applied. Although there were no whale or shark sightings despite asserted observations otherwise, the kids learned a bit about the built environment of Boston and history of the Harbor Islands.
Upon arrival to Georges Island the kids were fortunate to be hosted for a private educational tour of the island by Monique, a Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Ranger. The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is co-managed by the City of Boston / State of Massachusetts and the National Parks Service – a unique relationship for a unique geological and cultural resource.
The kids learned how Fort Warren was built on the island in the lead up to the Civil War and re-armed during World War II. Monique offered a high-energy interactive tour of the Fort’s historical military architecture & strategy features and the Fort’s history as a prison for Confederate troops, training ground for Union troops, and now a likely recreational and educational respite from the city heat. The tour also hosted an interpretive introduction to the Boston Harbor and its history as seen with a 360 degree view from one of the Fort’s towers. The kids learned of Boston Light, the country’s oldest lighthouse site on Little Brewster Island (1716) and of Deer Island that hosts the city’s wastewater treatment plant with windmills in motion.
Many of the kids’ questions of Monique were insightful as were many of their answers to a number of the questions she posed to the group (one exception: Q: Who won the Civil War? A: The French!) Their knowledge and imagination offered many surprises to their deductive reasoning skills and historical background education.
After the tour the kids had a picnic lunch and played Frisbee and football and even learned some yoga moves on the Fort’s open inner field. It was a warm day on the island with many water breaks, but much cooler than the inner city. The trip finished with a visit to the rocky beach where the kids skipped stones, cooled their feet, and observed the weekend activity of boats and birds surrounding the island.
Photos from the trip:
Thanks to Josh, Johannah, Latoya, and, as always, Rucker for weathering the hot afternoon sun and bringing another valuable set of experiences to this exceptional group of inner city kids.